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Staten Island pols call for microtransit pilot program

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The pilot program would explore how to ease commutes in the notoriously hard-to-navigate borough

Max Touhey

Staten Island pols are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to implement a microtransit pilot program that would increase transit options and ease commutes in the borough where public transit is lacking and spread out.

The effort is being spearheaded by Congressman Max Rose, and has the backing of prominent politicians like Borough President James Oddo, state Sen. Diane Savino, and City Council members Joseph Borelli and Deborah Rose.

“Staten Islanders face some of the worst, longest, and most expensive commutes in the country and the status quo just cannot continue,” Rose said in a statement. “I’m willing to try any and every outside-the-box idea and new initiative available to ease our commuting nightmare. Microtransit programs have proven effective in other cities and there’s no reason we shouldn’t try it here.”

Seattle has successfully implemented its own microtransit program that borough pols are using as a guide. The program, which has been expanded to serve various Seattle neighborhoods, links riders in transit deserts with public transportation through ride-hailing shuttles. A press release from Rose’s office suggests a similar approach for Staten Island, wherein vehicles would “pick up passengers, who signal through mobile phones, and bring them to the nearest express bus, Staten Island Rail Road station, or to the Ferry terminal.”

The microtransit program would aim to bridge the so-called first/last mile transit gap, and reduce the hefty percentage of Staten Islanders who forgo public transit entirely for private vehicles—some 68 percent of borough commuters. In June of 2018, dockless bike shares Jump and Lime preliminarily launched on the island’s North Shore.

Read the full appeal to Governor Cuomo here.